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Date of Graduation
Master of Arts (MA)
Dr. Trevor Stokes
Dr. Krisztina V. Jakobsen
Dr. Tracy E. Zinn
The present study investigated the stability of preferences over time using an alternating treatment multielement design across participants. The participants were children between the ages of eight and twelve with developmental disabilities, who also displayed interfering behaviors. The study had a baseline condition and two experimental conditions. During the first condition, the therapist provided contingent reinforcement for correct responses during reinforcer evaluations using highest preferred items. During the second condition, the therapist provided contingent reinforcement for correct responses during reinforcer evaluations using least preferred items. Repeated measures of free-operant preference assessments produced participants’ preference rankings, thus identifying highest and least preferred items to be used during the reinforcer evaluations. This study identified that preferences remained stable for four and a half weeks on average, across both participants. It also identified that as preferences became unstable, the participants’ performance decreased during the highest preferred reinforcer evaluation condition and/or increased during the least preferred reinforcer evaluation condition.
Histand, Lindsey, "Using Free-Operant Preference Assessments and Reinforcer Evaluations to Measure the Stability of Preferences Over Time in Individuals with Developmental Disabilities" (2023). Masters Theses, 2020-current. 242.